A federal judge has temporarily suspended the implementation of a new law in Arkansos which prohibits abortion except in cases where the life of the pregnant woman is in danger. Judge Christine Baker has approved the temporary suspension of anti-abortion law, one of the strictest in the United States, which would take effect today, according to APE.
Based on of this bill, which was adopted in March by the Arkansas Parliament, where Republicans are in the majority, and approved by Gov. Issa Hutchinson, doctors who perform abortions will face criminal charges, except when surgery is necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life. Furthermore, it does not provide for exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
In May, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued for abortion at the Little Rock Planning Services clinic. In their appeal, they state that the law will disproportionately affect women belonging to minorities and those with low incomes and living far from urban centers, who already face many barriers to accessing reproductive health services.
The historic 1973 decision to legalize abortion is being reconsidered
The judge ruled that the plaintiffs might be right that the law imposes “completely unconstitutional” restrictions on women’s right to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus is considered to be able to survive outside the womb. At the same time, in her decision, Baker noted that women who wish to have an abortion in Arkansas will face irreparable damage if the law comes into force. The judge even commented that Arkansas is the fifth poorest state in the United States.
The new law passed in Arkansas is part of an effort by conservative Republicans to force the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in the country. The governor himself had stated when he signed the law that his purpose was to “pave the way for the Supreme Court to overturn its decision.”
According to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, 20 new abortion restrictions have been adopted in Arkansas in 2021 alone, the highest number in any state since 1978 when Louisiana approved equal restrictions.